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Transcript: Mayor Eric Adams Makes Education-Related Announcement

April 18, 2022

Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, Strategic Initiatives: Good morning. Good morning. I am Deputy Mayor Sheena Wright, and today is a very, very special day here at City Hall. Mayor Bloomberg, welcome back home.

Michael Bloomberg, Former Mayor of New York City: Thank you.

Deputy Mayor Wright: Right? And Mayor Adams, we welcome you back to City Hall, although we do feel that you've never left. You are here day and night. As deputy mayor for strategic initiatives, I've worked with the mayor to invest in our children's future, from funding childcare for toddlers and working parents, to providing job opportunities for young people through our Summer Youth Employment Program. We have brought everyone into this mission from public to private partners. With Mayor Bloomberg, we are extremely excited to launch another program to meet our children's needs. On that note it is with great pleasure I introduce Mayor Michael Bloomberg.

Bloomberg: Sheena, thank you. I forgot what it was like to stand up here. I did it for a few years, if I remember. How many years was that? Anyways. Sheena, thank you for all the great work that you're leading on behalf of our city students, and it couldn't be more important or more urgent. Our administration, as you know, had a chance to work with Sheena, back when she led the Abyssinian Development Corporation, and later the United Way, and it's great to be joining forces with her again.

Bloomberg: And thank you, Mayor Adams, for all of your leadership in confronting the big challenges that our city faces, and for welcoming me back to City Hall. This feels just like the good old times, except that when Room Nine asks a really difficult question, I'm going to say, "You handle it, not me." But seriously, I was glad to have the chance to welcome back each of my predecessors to City Hall, and I'm glad that you're carrying on that tradition.

Bloomberg: Now, I know we've just passed your 100th day in office, and I remember reporters asking me, when we hit 100 days, "What did you do?" And I said, "Well, we built a team." And they said, "Yeah, yeah, yeah. But what did you do?" And I said, "We built a team." It didn't make headlines, but it did make possible all the success that we achieved over the next 4,000 days, because it all started with a great team that we built, and the vast majority of whom actually stayed for eight to 12 years, if you go back and look. It really is quite amazing, in a business where people turn over every six months to two years, lots of people stayed around, and they stayed around because we were making a difference, and they wanted to be part of it.

Bloomberg: Mayor Adams has been building a strong team, and it's great to see some of our administration alumni among the commissioners and senior staff. So I really am very optimistic about the future of the city, especially as the worst of the pandemic, I hope, finally seems to be in the rear view mirror. But for a lot of young New Yorkers, the crisis of the past two years may only just be starting, unless we act, and that's why I am here today.

Bloomberg: The data is clear, and it paints a devastating picture. After two years of school closures and inadequate remote instruction, students across the United States have fallen behind, sometimes as much as a whole year. And the harm has fallen heaviest on the children who were too far behind, especially low-income Black and Latino students. Without urgent help, many of them will fall either further behind, which could have devastating effects on their chances for graduating high school, and going to college, or beginning a career. That would be a disaster for them but also for our city and our country.

Bloomberg: Here's one way to think about this moment. Right now, scientists all over the world are studying long COVID to understand it and how to treat it. Well, what we're talking about today is the educational equivalent of long COVID. The good news is we know how to treat it. Extra help and intensive instruction, and we've got to provide it, and we're going to start right now. We can't let a whole generation of students suffer from long COVID when it comes to their education. And I know the mayor and chancellor feel the same way. They both deserve credit for recognizing the crisis, and taking immediate action by expanding the city's summer school program called Summer Rising. That's a critically important step, and it will help an awful lot of students.

Bloomberg: This really is an all hands on deck moment. Private sector and philanthropic groups have a duty, I think, to step in and do what they can. And our foundation is going to do our part. Together with a group of partners, we're committing $50 million to help charter schools create or expand summer school programs that will provide a coverage of an average of five weeks of additional instruction in math and English. All charter schools serving students in grades K through 12 are eligible to receive funding for the program, which will target students who are most in need of extra help. Schools can apply for funding starting today through the website, The funders joining our foundation in this effort include Ken Griffin, Stan Druckenmiller, the Carson Family Charitable Trust, Robin Hood, Gray Foundation, and the Wilentz Foundation. And I wanted to publicly thank them for their generosity, and for stepping up to help students at a pivotal moment in their lives.

Bloomberg: Improving schools for every child in every neighborhood has always been a priority for our administration. And I'm glad to say we made significant progress, closing achievement gaps that exist between students of different backgrounds. Opening charter schools under the direction of Chancellors Joel Klein and Dennis Walcott was one of the ways that we did it. Our city and our nation failed too many students during the pandemic. And now we've got to go above and beyond to get those kids back on the track that these other guys started.

Bloomberg: This summer, I think, is a valuable opportunity to make up for lost ground. And we're not going to let it slip by. So let me again thank Mayor Adams, Chancellor Banks, and Deputy Mayor Wright for taking action and for their partnership. It really is going to make a very big difference for a lot of children. And our team at Bloomberg Philanthropies run by Patti Harris and Howard Wolfson is glad to be part of this, and to support the mayor and his team as they work to address the crisis in our schools. Let me now do something I want to do for a long time. Turn it over to the mayor.


Mayor Eric Adams: Thank you. Thank you so much. And this is definitely a [inaudible] moment. Welcome back. Welcome back. Welcome back. And the staff was excited to see the mayor walk inside, watching him come through the security and up the steps. As he stated, some of his alumni are still here, serving government, committed and dedicated. And we thank you. And we thank you for what you're doing around, not only education. It's no secret, after the primary win, that we communicated with the mayor often, Sheena and I went to visit him over at his office, and just asked for his input, and to just really be a part of this campaign. It was a miss for so many years, far too many years, I believe, of his willingness to do things like this. It didn't start in 2022. He wanted to continue to assist the city, what he has been doing all over the country.

Mayor Adams: He was the modern day Paul Revere around gun violence. If we would have embraced what you were doing in cities across the country, around gun violence, we wouldn't be where we are right now. He was stating it was getting out of control. And so, I cannot thank the mayor enough, and Howard and Patti, just for being committed to our children and our families in the city, because it goes together. And so, to Michael and the Bloomberg philanthropic initiatives, we want to say thank you. The Summer Boost in New York City is so needed. And I don't think anything personified that need more than what was stated about long term COVID. We did something in Bushwick about the physical aspects of long term COVID, but the long term COVID of education, our children are behind, in reading, in math.

Mayor Adams: And this is going to have a longstanding impact, not only for all children in the city, but it's going to impact those children who were already behind. And if we don't get on top of this, and focus on this, it's going to have an impact on our children globally, employment, being able to provide families, to buy a home, to pay for education for their children. There's so many other things that we believe are important to look at.

Mayor Adams: This massive investment that this administration is receiving for those children in charter schools is going to help children and families all over this city, and is going to make our schools work for everyone. I am not going to be caught up in the conversation of separating children based on the names of the schools they are in. They are all of our children, all of our children. And today we are invested in all of them, $50 million investment in the education of our kids. Every young person, whether they are in district schools or charter schools, they deserve to have a quality education. That is what this administration is saying, that is what this mayor is doing today. Too many of our sons and daughters are behind. 

Mayor Adams: Today, too many of our sons and daughters are behind because of COVID and because of failures. They both go together and they have been compounded this year. They're dealt with remote learning, illnesses, absences, learning loss. It's just a combination of what has hit these children. And it's just unfair that adults' problems have turned into these crises for our children and future generations.

Mayor Adams: And I said it before, and I'm going to continue to say it. Starting out behind instead of starting out ahead, is something we have to move away from. And it's time not only to catch up but for our young people to move forward and that's what we are going to do. And we know if we expand opportunities at the earliest possible age, we can set out our kids on the right path to success. And programs like Summer Boost New York City are going to help us accomplish that. It's going to give our chancellor the boost he needs to continue the great work that he's doing.

Mayor Adams: It will reach 25,000 K through eight students in the New York City charter schools. 25,000 children. That is something that we need to all be pleased with. And just not only put them in the classroom, but put them in a class of their own where they receive an opportunity to learn about reading and math fluency.

Mayor Adams: And the math issue is a huge issue. We are falling in reading, but the studies that we witnessed during the campaign, we saw that math is a problem, and it's an indicator of the success of our children in the future. Every young person in the program would get a chance to grow, to learn, to explore their talents and imagination. What I like about this is that we're going to turn our city into a classroom, something the chancellor talks about all the time.

Mayor Adams: Our city must be the classroom. Not only the sterilized environment of a classroom building or school building, but this entire city. And it complements the work the city is already doing through our Summer Rising program. Thank you Sheena for the visionary of the Summer Rising program.

Mayor Adams: I believe in all year school. I made clear, that summer gap, that summer loss, our children need to have structured education throughout the entire year to catch up and to exceed. We're going to be serving in our Summer Rise program 110,000 K through eight this year. The largest summer program in our city's history. We keep saying the largest all the time. And I don't think people get that largest part. Largest summer employment, largest investment in this, the largest in this, the largest in that. Whenever we see it, people miss the largest. I keep breaking records and people continue to ignore the records that I'm breaking.

Mayor Adams: The largest, all they know is, well, you know what, you ex-police. But we are investing the largest in all the areas in children and families. And that needs to be talked about more because it's not talked about enough. And it's about giving our kids a safe space.

Mayor Adams: During the summer month, crime increases. Our goal is to place our children in safe spaces so that we can bring down the violence, bring children into safe environments so that they can continue to grow and learn and prosper during the summer months. And this is the goal that we are going to accomplish, where every young person is given an opportunity to exceed and no one is left behind. Could not have been done with doubt the partnership with the mayor. And I cannot thank him enough. And it's only the beginning of the things we are going to do together.

Mayor Adams: We're going to stay close with the foundation. Sheena has Patti and Howard on speed dial. The mayor and I speak routinely about different ideas, learning from those things that are best practices globally. New York is a global city, and we are going to learn across the globe what people are doing successfully so we can make sure we recover, ending inequalities that are in the way of prospering the lives for the people of this city.

Mayor Adams: So again, to your entire team, our entire team realizes that we are one team. We put on one jersey on January 1st, 2022, and that jersey states Team New York. Team New York. And we don't leave anyone behind in these pursuits. Thank you very much, man.

Question: Thank you. Hi, Mr. Mayor. Nice to see you. Both of you, Mr. Mayor. Is this something that already exists in the public schools? You alluded to the fact that students in district schools will also be getting expanded summer programs. So can you talk about how, what this grant does? Does it even the scales between what district schools have and charter schools have, or will charter schools now have something that district schools don't?

Bloomberg: The mayor has a program for all kids in New York City, whether they go to public schools that are charters or public schools that are not charters. In the past, the non-charter kids were not covered, but the mayor has chosen to cover them as well.

Bloomberg: This is a grant for the most in need, let's say a third of the kids in charter schools, who have been left behind to give them some extra work in the charter schools. And the charter school people thought that they would like to take a stab at helping their kids, and that would be a role model for everybody. And so we are funding that. And so that's where the $50 million is going, of which I think Bloomberg Philanthropies put in two thirds of it and then a third from the other people whose names I mentioned.

Question: Yes, Mayor Adams. How important is it to have Mayor Bloomberg in the polls and to provide not only his experience and advice, but some of the issues he's focused on. Education, guns, where will you rely on him?

Mayor Adams: Well, so many, I don't think there has been another mayor in our city that walked into office dealing with a question mark that lingered over the success of this city. I don't, people don't realize the mayor came in after we saw the center of our trade collapse, after the terrorist attack. He inherited a difficult time and had to turn around the city.

Mayor Adams: And so here's a person who has gone through it. And so when I look at the issues we are facing now, and when I read his book and read other things, what was going on during that time of why are we attempting to ignore a person who has already gone through it?

Mayor Adams: And so when I sit down and bounce ideas off of him, talk about the recovery of the city during 9/11, what was going through his mind, what should we do differently? It's just really, it's a handicap not to have that. And so when you see the level of calmness that I have, because I already spoke to Mike and I know we're going to get through this. So I keep saying New Yorkers are resilient, that we're going to make it through this, we're going to get through this. We're going to get through the crises that we are facing because we got through it already. And we're going to get through it again. We are New York strong and we had a mayor that showed us how we could be New York strong.

Question: Hey, Mr. Mayor, glad you're feeling better. So for both Mayor Adams and former Mayor Bloomberg, can you talk a little more about, especially given that the Summer Rising program is open to students in charter schools, why did you think it was important to invest in a whole separate program? Was there something about Summer Rising that was not working well with charter-

Bloomberg: No, it was that the charter schools wanted to take a chance, take the opportunity to try what they've been doing during the school year for the summer schools, which they didn't have before. And so it's extra money for them, but keep in mind, charter school students don't get funded by the state anywhere as near as much as non-charter schools. So that's probably 25% less, but it's a little bit to make that up. But also because the charter schools wanted to do it and didn't have the funds to do it. But I want to emphasize that the mayor's program is for all students, whether they go to charter or the more traditional schools.

Question: This question is for Chancellor Banks. Could you talk about, have you done a full survey of your staff for the DOE's Summer Rising program? Do you have an idea how much staff you will have that includes, will there be the option for paraprofessionals and other aides for students?

Chancellor David Banks, Department of Education: So we are in the midst of all of that now. The word has gone out to school staff, school leaders, parents. So we are putting all that together now, but we're fully confident that we'll be able to fully staff our schools for this summer.

Question: How many, how big is the staff approximately that you would need for Summer Rising?

Chancellor Banks: I would have to give you the numbers and I don't know off the top of my head what that specific numbers are. And we've expanded it from what it has been in the past. As the mayor said, it's going to be the largest one. But we could certainly get the specific numbers to you.

Chancellor Banks: But the preliminary analysis that we've already done is we were also concerned as we are expanding and ensure that we have the teachers and the support staff that we'll need. But we're also working that together with dozens and dozens of community-based organizations who are also partnering with us in this process as well. So it's not simply school staff, but we've engaged the entire community, the village, if you will, as part of this process. That's a big part of what's making this such a special summer that we've got planned. But no, but we feel really good. We can get you the specific numbers very shortly.

Question: This is a question for Mayor Bloomberg. If you could talk about how hands-on you all will be with the planning of these activities versus the-

Bloomberg: I couldn't hear you. Say it one more time, please.

Question: Sure. About how hands on you all will be with the planning of these activities versus the charter schools themselves. And if it comes from... If the former is from the top, what the balance is going to be between those enrichment activities and more traditional in the classroom setting about learning.

Bloomberg: I'd love to tell you, I heard you, but I didn't. One more time.

Question: Sure.

Bloomberg: A little bit louder.

Question: Sure. I'm asking about how much of the planning will come from you all versus from the charter schools themselves. And if the former, what the breakdown really is between the enrichment activities, getting out to the city.

Bloomberg: Howard Wolfson will be better able to answer it since he designed the programs.

Howard Wolfson, Education, Bloomberg Philanthropies: So it'll be a rigorous program of academics; math, and reading specifically. There will also be the kinds of activities you would associate the kids would probably rather be in the summer as well; social and emotional learning, recess. We have a model curricula that has been used in other summer programs around the country, designed by a company called Lavinia, that we will be making that available to the charter schools. Some charter schools will probably choose to use their own curricula. Some of the larger networks have already been running programs like this, and probably have a sense of how they'd want to do it. We're going to let them do that.

Wolfson: But some schools who have never had the money to do this will likely use the model curricula that we'll be providing. And so it'll be a mix. Some will use it, some won't, but there will certainly be a minimum standard of academic instruction, even for kids as little as first grade. We'll have kids tested at the beginning and we'll have kids tested at the end to gauge the progress. Hopefully, there will be a significant improvement over time. And so we'll be working very closely with all the schools. Every school will be eligible and hopefully every school will apply.

Question: Hi, good morning, former Mayor Bloomberg, current Mayor Adams, glad that you're feeling better. Mayor Adams, wanted to ask you about this as it relates to your budget proposal, $375 million cut to the DOE was included in your budget. And given the rhetoric around how much help all these students need, I wanted to see how you reconcile that with that kind of a cut to the DOE budget.

Mayor Adams: I said on the campaign trail, promise made, promise kept. We ask all of our agencies to do a 3% peg without hurting the services. I stated that there was fat in the budget. There was fat in our agencies and we have to be more efficient, and more streamlined, and deliver a good product. The chancellor went in, he looked at that, and he determined what areas he was going to make those adjustments. And I have the utmost faith in the chancellor that he's not going to impact education, quality of service, and taking care of our children. That is how the decision was made.


Question: Mayor, a couple days ago, you announced the return and expansion of the Gifted and Talented program. Could you talk about that?

Mayor Adams: Yes?

Question: The Gifted and Talented program, you announced a few days ago, you expanded, bring it back. Could you just talk about that? Why it was so important to expand it and how it's different than the previous iteration of this?

Mayor Adams: Because, and I'm pretty sure the chancellor could speak on it, accelerated learners learn differently. It doesn't mean... And as the chancellor states all the time, that we don't want and continue to have a mixture of students in the classroom, but we have to be focused on how do we move barriers for all of our children, including accelerated learners. And that's what the chancellor did. And again, I have the utmost respect and confidence in his ability to understand what are the needs of our children. You want to touch on anything in particular?

Chancellor Banks: I think the most important thing to note here is that we've continued to listen to our families across New York City. Gifted and Talented programs are something that communities have wanted across New York, and we responded to that need. So, there are students who are accelerated learners, and we thought that was really important to double down on the investment. In fact, as we traveled around the city and we spoke to community leaders and elected officials, unanimously, they said to us, don't get rid of the program, expand the program. There are many parts of New York City that did not have Gifted and Talented programs at all. And they said, and we want them, and so the goal was to do that. While at the same time, the biggest part of our job is to ensure that there's a quality educational experience in every school.

Chancellor Banks: So that's well beyond our Gifted and Talented programs. We think that we can do both. That is what our mandate really ought to be, it's not this or that. That's why I'm so excited about this announcement. They've often been set up these false barriers between traditional public schools and charter schools. They are all of our children and we've got to knock down those walls of separation, and we should be learning from each other and supporting one another. And I think that's why it's so important to see mayor Bloomberg and his team back here today. It just is another example of mayor Adams and his ability to break down those barriers and bring us all together. And that's what we're excited about.

Bloomberg: I want to add something to that. The mayor and the chancellor talked about expanding the elite school system for those kids who really can do great academic work and they can benefit from that. You will have a lot more kids that could benefit from it and could qualify if we improve the results coming out of K through nine education. And unless we do something about that, you are never going to eliminate racism, eliminate poverty, stop crime, or doing any of these things. A kid that does not have an education doesn't have a chance. They fall off cliffs with monotonous regularity, and we are the ones that are responsible. And hopefully, this chancellor and this mayor will focus on that and will get more kids to be able to move up, do more work, do higher challenging work, get to more elite schools and go on and have great careers and contribute to society. But it is in our hands. The bottom line is we are not doing a good job in any part of our education. We can do more. And hopefully, these two will do it.

Question: Mayor Bloomberg, is this at all part of your $750 million plan to expand charter schools?

Bloomberg: We'll talk about that another time.

Question: But is this part of that or is it something else?

Bloomberg: No, it's in addition to anything else [inaudible].

Question: And how many schools do you anticipate participating in the program?

Bloomberg: So there are over 200 schools that are going to be eligible. They're probably not all going to apply, there are some that may apply and not get money for whatever reason, but my guess is a great portion of the [inaudible] schools and the charter [inaudible] will apply to get it. And I just wanted to say that the most challenged 30%, those that really are struggling more than the others [inaudible].

Question: How are you evaluating that?


Wolfson: We've got a team at Bloomberg Philanthropies that will be evaluating the applications. The application process begins today. As I said, I hope that every charter school in the city applies, they may not all apply. Our expectation is that the vast bulk of the applications will be approved. The goal is to obviously help as many kids as possible. So we're going to try to do just that. And then our team will be evaluating the submissions and evaluating the learning experience as it extends through the summer.


Question: Mayor, COVID cases right now are increasing in the city-

Mayor Adams: I'm sorry, what's that?

Question: COVID cases right now are increasing in the city and your own health commissioner is advising New Yorkers to wear masks indoors, and saying the risk level is probably going to be increasing from low to medium. Have you thought about reinstating the mask mandate for indoors, or what level would it take for you to apply a mandate [inaudible] recommendation from your city health commissioner?

Mayor Adams: Listen, we have an amazing health commissioner who really always is extremely cautious. 8:30 every day, I speak with him Monday through Fridays, and if I need to reach him on the weekend, I communicate with him. We have a standard before we move to the next color coded system. We're not there yet. And so, we are advising New Yorkers to wear a mask, but we are not at the point of mandate. Right now, our hospitalizations are at a steady level, deaths at a steady level. As the cases tick up, we're not at the area where we have to move to the next level, and he will advise me and I will make the announcement with him.

Question: Mr. Mayor, earlier last week you spoke about these softer metal detectors to possibly place in transit. You had earlier spoken about doing that in schools. Where are you with this pilot program or reviewing some of these types of pieces of equipment?

Mayor Adams: I'm excited about the technology that's associated with keeping people safe. We want to get it right. We want to make sure that the technology is fool proof. Based on our preliminary reviews, it is extremely promising. And Deputy Mayor Phil Banks, deputy mayor of public safety, I have given him this charge and as soon as we are ready to announce and roll it out, we're going to let everyone know. We're not going to sneak it in. We're going to let people know exactly what we're doing.

Mayor Adams: And I think New Yorkers are going to feel safe knowing that when they swipe their MetroCard, that we are doing some type of checks to make sure people are not carrying weapons on our system. We are close to it. He's on top of it and I cannot thank him enough. I gave him the charge and he went out there and looked for the devices and the technology that I'm looking for.

Question: Have you determined the device yet and is there a target date for the pilot?

Mayor Adams: We're looking at three devices. We haven't narrowed in on just one yet, but we're looking at three devices. And once we know we make that announcement.

Question: Hi, I have two questions. First, yesterday there was a report about a letter that you wrote to the congressional delegation about how you're not pursuing this chocolate milk ban in schools in the interim. And that you're looking at a pilot program and federal legislation requiring plant-based meals. Can you talk through why you made that decision and whether you'll pursue a ban in the future? My second question is, can you talk through your next steps on mayoral control? Are you talking to Governor Hochul and lawmakers between now and June? What do you anticipate will happen?

Mayor Adams: Yes, I think that the reports of my demise on this issue are falsely reported. We basically stated that we are looking. We want alternatives before we do anything. Chocolate milk, here's the science behind the use of chocolate milk. If you make it sweet, it encourages children to drink more of it. That's the science. Not realizing making it sweet is adding sugar. That sugar causes health issues. So you don't encourage behavior based on bad health practices. So we want to make sure before we replace it, we want to give alternatives. And that's what we're asking Congress to do. And those who call it vegan juice, I don't even know what the heck vegan juice is. It's stating that we have to move away from giving our children foods that we know are unhealthy.

Mayor Adams: And this is a tough approach. I know people have normalized this chocolate milk conversation. We have not abandoned that. We're looking at alternatives like you look at alternatives to everything. Alternatives in fuel, alternatives to transportation. We should be in the method or the mood of how do we find better, healthy ways to do the things that we have historically done that are wrong.

Mayor Adams: Talking about mayoral control, first African American mayor to have Mayoral control, first African American chancellor to be there together with that mayor. And let me tell you something else. We're both public school students. We came up through the system. To state that other mayors that did not go through the public school system had mayoral control and David Banks and I, the chancellor and I, we can't have it, that just says the wrong message. We have been having conversations with our lawmakers and we think it's imperative for us to continue what we're doing to have complete control of our school system with family engagement and input like we did with the gifted and talented programs. We believe in parent engagement, but the ultimate decision must come down to Chancellor Banks and Eric Adams.

Question: So it looks like this is going to enter the yellow alert level for COVID this week and yellow calls for considering bringing back masks at K through 12 schools and considering bringing back the Key to NYC. Will you consider those two steps?

Mayor Adams: I'm going to speak with my doctors in the morning and you use the most important term considering I'm going to factor in all the information. And then after meeting with my health team, we're going to make a determination. COVID is a formidable opponent. And if you become rigid, you're not going to be able to shift and pivot with COVID. COVID does not follow any rules. And so we have to be willing to pivot and shift, so based on the doctors giving their medical advice, our health team would sit down and say, this is what we're going to do as a city, because we have to factor in everything.

Mayor Adams: And I think Governor Hochul was right when she stated we can't close down our city together. We need healthy bodies, healthy minds, and a healthy economy. They all go together. And so we are going to look at the data, look at the information, look at the advice from the doctors, and then we're going to make the appropriate decision, how to move forward. And we will continue to pivot and shift. I'm not going to be ashamed to come to the microphone and say we're moving in another direction. COVID is unashamed about trying to disrupt our lives and we cannot be ashamed to pivot and shift what the needs are.


Question: I just want to follow up on that. We'll follow up on two things. I know we're talking a lot about this yellow alert level and the specter of it. When is this decision going to be made? Is it tomorrow and why such a reluctance to bring back a mask mandate? And I ask that just because we've obviously seen other cities like Philadelphia do that, and you talk about shutting down the city, but wearing a mask isn't exactly shutting down the city. And then just on a separate topic, will you be inviting de Blasio and Giuliani to City Hall?

Mayor Adams: Well, I just love Courtney. Let's peel back the question one layer at a time. One, there's no reluctancy. A part of our recovery is not only actual, it is perception and we're going to balance that. And because of the amazing job that New Yorkers have done, vaccines and boosters, because of the safeguards we're taking, because of us doing the right thing, we're not seeing those high levels of hospitalizations, hospital systems being overpowered, the high level of deaths. We have done the right thing here in the city. And we are unlike any other city in America. This is New York, the uniqueness of our city calls for different ways of managing any type of crises. If we get to the place of mandate, we will make that call.

Mayor Adams: We're not there yet, and we are encouraging New Yorkers as we did with PSAs and communications around the holidays because a lot of our young people are home. People get together for holidays. We are encouraging New Yorkers, wear the mask if you feel uncomfortable, if you don't know the status of a person's vaccine, if you're at gatherings. So there is an encouragement we're putting out to New Yorkers, we're just not at the place of mandate right now. And the second, about me bringing Bill de Blasio. Yes, I'm looking forward. I speak with Bill all the time. Matter of fact, I think we're getting together in the next few days to go over some stuff based on his observation. And so I look forward to Bill de Blasio returning and I'd reach out to mayors that I can learn a lot from.


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